My first introduction into the colourful world of Archie was at age 10 when my teacher kept a box full of comics for our reading pleasure. I became enthralled and fascinated by his life and friends and particularly enjoyed the humour. I was also wholeheartedly #TeamBetty (I am fairly certain they were the first couple I shipped.) So, upon hearing the news that The CW would be adapting something so pivotal to my childhood, I was initially elated but upon further review, more than mildly concerned.
The first and possibly only casting that sent major shockwaves through social media was that of Cole Sprouse( our nerdy Cody from Zack and Cody) as the humorous, crowned misfit Jughead Jones. Our dearest titular Archie’s role was handed to a new find named KJ Apa, who to be quite honest looks nothing like the freckled redhead. The New Zealand-born 19-year-old Actor subsequently dyed his hair fiery red and is part-Kiwi/part-Samoan, thereby providing some hope in terms of PoC representation. I hope KJ brings as much talent as he does abs to the show.
The iconic Betty and Veronica will be portrayed by Lili Reinheart and Camila Mendes respectively, Mendes being of Brazilian Descent. The decision that infuriated me the most and was quite possibly the most CW thing to do is the aging down of Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) from a white-haired old lady to a young and attractive Music Teacher a bit too close to her students. Lastly, amongst the casting of minor characters what stood out to me was that of the all black Josie and the Pussycats, who are as fierce and beautiful as ever. Producer Greg Bertlanti compared the band to that of the likes of Destiny’s Child.
According to Tech times, the general plot is along the lines of: “As a new school year begins, the town of Riverdale is reeling from the recent, tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom, and nothing feels the same. Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) is still the all-American teen, but the summer’s events made him realize that he wants to pursue a career in music — not follow in his dad’s footsteps — despite the sudden end of his forbidden relationship with Riverdale’s young music teacher, Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel).”
It all sounds ominous and creepy and also nothing like the comics. The writers of the show have launched the show in a whole new teen soapy-esque direction. I am all for experiencing new things and variations but at the very core of the comics there was humour, love and friendship and I hope this is not all lost in place of dramatic and unnecessary plot devices. Archie and Jughead aren’t friends, he involved with a teacher and apparently murder mystery also lurks in the distance. The narrative is rather lost on me but I am willing to give it a try. Personally, I feel that The CW is trying to fill the teen drama shaped whole in its line-up, seeing as they had relative success with Gossip Girl and 90210.
This 30-second long clip was released as promo for the show and my general consensus was that this looks alternative, edgy, excessively dramatic and far too evasive. The network boasted that it gave you shows such as Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, which clearly hints at their marketing and plot direction for the show. The lack of Cole Sprouse had me bit disappointed.
At the end of the day, I will be tuning in on January 26th 2017, with little to no expectations and will either be pleasantly surprised or have my childhood ruined.
Author: Faatimah Essack